Tag Archives: roadster

Photographing the Old West


Josefina's Winery and Café

Josefina’s Winery and Café

Driving into Mesilla, New Mexico, is like driving 150 years back into time.  While Territorial-Style architecture is most closely tied with Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, Mesilla is home to an incredible number of prime examples.

Territorial Building

Territorial Building

Territorial Style on Parade

Territorial Style on Parade

Basilica San Albino

Basilica San Albino

Looking at some of the examples above and on Monday, you might be getting the mistaken impression that Territorial Style is all about colorfully dull earth tones.  Not always.  Many Territorial Style buildings sport bright blue doorways and window casings.  Sometimes, however, the entire building may be a splash of color.

Galeria Azul

Galeria Azul

The Colorful Side of Territorial

The Colorful Side of Territorial

Courtyards are also a popular feature of the Territorial Style, and some of the more popular eating establishments reflect this.

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

Color isn’t everything in photography, however.  Texture also counts for a lot, as you’ll recall from my blog: When to Convert to Black & White—Landscapes.  If you have a picture that contains a lot of texture and is already primarily monochromatic in nature, you can often enhance the viewing experience by completing the monochromatic nature of the subject in post processing.

Outside Galeria Azul

Outside Galeria Azul

Josefina's Old Gate

Josefina’s Old Gate

If you do decide to convert to Black & White, don’t forget the color.  I know that sounds oxymoronic, but don’t forget that the color information contained in the original picture is a wealth of data that can be easily manipulated in post processing to increase contrast, darken skies, highlight clouds, enhance vegetation, or even bring out the character in an aging face.

A Little B&W Fun

A Little B&W Fun

The picture above is a good example.  It was filtered for red in post-processing, resulting in wispy clouds against dark skies.  Without that filtering, this is what you would have seen instead:

Unfiltered B&W Conversion

Unfiltered B&W Conversion

And what of the original photograph?  Here it is:

Original Color Shot

Original Color Shot

If you’d like a refresher of Black & White conversions and Color Filtering, go to:

When to Convert to Black & White—Landscapes

More Fun with Color Filtering for Black & White Photography

Black & White Filtering After the Picture is Taken

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The First Road Trip of Spring . . .


The Roadster Awakens

The Roadster Awakens

. . . and astronomical spring is still officially over two weeks away (although meteorological spring occurred a couple of days ago).  But all of February we’ve been below normal temperatures, and this past Sunday we smashed through the magical 68° (20° Celsius) mark, climbed all through the 70s, and topped out somewhere around 80° (27° Celsius).  As the roadster has been in hibernation since early December, it was time to wake her up and put her to use.

Galeria Azul

Galeria Azul

Courtyard at Peppers Cafe/Double Eagle

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

So off we set for one of our favorite driving destinations — Mesilla, New Mexico, and the magnificent Old Mesilla town square, San Albino Basilica (yep, a real Basilica right there at the north end of the town square), quaint shops, and delightful restaurants.

Basilica San Albino

Basilica San Albino

Billy the Kid Gift Shop

Billy the Kid Gift Shop

We have several dining “favorites” in this area, but today in particular Ursula was hungry for La Posta de Mesilla (which I’ll share with you on Friday).  After lunch we strolled around central Mesilla for a little picture-taking expedition.

Rustic Furniture

Rustic Furniture

Mesilla Town Square

Mesilla Town Square

Let’s face it — if you can’t find worthwhile photo opportunities in this small town, you need to turn in your memory card and give up photography.  From the macro views encompassing the town square to honing in on just one architectural feature, Mesilla abounds in subjects.

Typical Territorial-style Architecture

Typical Territorial-style Architecture

The Back of La Posta de Mesilla

The Back of La Posta de Mesilla

And if the vibrant New Mexico colors are not your thing, there are many scenes just begging for a little monochromatic post-processing magic.

Josefina's Winery and Cafe

Josefina’s Winery and Café

We’ll continue looking around Mesilla for more photographic subjects on Wednesday, and on Friday we’ll sit down for a massive luncheon at La Posta.

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Of Road Trips, Restaurants, and Recreation — Part 1


Saturday, the first day of December, El Paso hit a high of 75° (24° Celsius).  The skies were sunny, with nary a cloud to be seen.  Fall colors were nearly gone, but still lingering.  This can mean only one thing in the Wicker household — ROAD TRIP!

Out came the roadster, in went the wife, and off went the two of us.

IMG_3076

The Roadster — BMW Z3 in Sienna Red

Last week it was roadstering through El Paso’s fall colors.  Before that it was roadstering along El Paso’s Mission Trail, and before that a road trip to the Las Cruces Renaissance ArtsFaire.  Where would we go on this, the first day of meteorological winter, with the temperatures so nice?  We’d been to Mesilla, New Mexico, several times this year, and Ursula was growing bored with the same old route through the pecan orchards and farmlands, so this trip I opted for a slightly less scenic, slightly quicker route that would still avoid I-10.  I also wanted to find something different to do once we got there so, after a little research I quickly came upon Mesilla Valley Bosque Start Park via Texas State Highway 20/New Mexico State HWY 478, followed by a turn west on HWY 373 at Mesilla Park for Old Mesilla and lunch.

There are several really great restaurants in Old Mesilla, but none is as picturesque nor has the ambiance of La Posta de Mesilla established in 1939 and residing in an adobe building dating back to the 1840s.  La Posta was one of our favorites when we moved to the El Paso area over thirty years ago, but it had a bad run fifteen to twenty years ago when the food quality slipped, so we quit going for several years.  Then, a few years ago, the owners redid the kitchen and, just this year, finished with a complete remodel of the interior of the building and its many charmingly intimate dining areas.  Well, I’m here to tell you that La Posta is back and better than ever.  Everything from the food to the dining environment are just wonderful.

When you first walk into the building you are greeted with a long corridor lined with various shops.  At the end of the corridor is a large, open room with various bird cages containing many colorful and exotic species; a couple of aquariums, one of which contains a piranha; a beautiful tiled wall fountain; and the hostess station.  Click on any of the images below to see a larger version:

The remodel of the many dining rooms has been a great success, with each having its own distinguishing charm.  Click on any of the images below to see a larger version:

At the table we were greeted with the traditional tortilla chips and salsa that are expected in Mexican-style restaurants in this area.  The salsa was very garlicky with just the right amount of spicy heat.  The chips were exceptional — tasting of corn, yet with almost the crunchy texture of a flour-based tortilla chip.  They were light and not greasy in the least.

Tortilla Chips and Tea

Tortilla Chips and Tea

For our respective main courses we diverged in tastes.  Ursula selected the Combination #2 — a rather traditional New Mexican-style platter containing a rolled red enchilada, red chile con carne, two rolled tacos, frijoles, rice and some very tasty charro-style beans.  I, on the other hand, went with the decidedly pedestrian pick of ground beef tacos accompanied by Mexican rice and refried beans (frijoles), but there was nothing pedestrian about the taste.  The beef was perfectly seasoned with just a hint of cumin.  The shell was fried to perfection.  The cheese, lettuce, and tomato were in near-perfect proportions, nicely complementing the beef without overpowering it.  For dessert we opted for a couple of sopapillas and warm honey.  A sopapilla, for the uninitiated, is a piece of flattened dough that is flash-fried in very hot oil so that it puffs, forming a large pocket in which to hold the honey after you poke a hole into it.  The honey container, by the way, had been kept in a hot water bath so as to make it easier to pour — something I’ve never seen done at other restaurants, but a technique that is very effective and diner friendly.

Tacos lower left; Combination #2 upper right

Tacos lower left; Combination #2 upper right

Sopapillas and Warm Honey

Sopapillas and Warm Honey

 

On Wednesday I will share with you pictures of our road trip to Mesilla, including some very colorful photographs of chili ristras, fall foliage, the Basilica of San Albino, and the charming buildings of Old Mesilla itself.  Friday we’ll take a look at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park.  Until then, let’s hope this weather holds for yet another exciting roadster trip.

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